Two Turkish ministers resign amid graft scandal

Two Turkish ministers resign amid graft scandal
Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:59:48

Two Turkish ministers have resigned over a high-level corruption crackdown in which the sons of three cabinet ministers and renowned businessmen were arrested.

Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler announced their resignations early on Wednesday.

Caglayan's son Salih Kaan Caglayan and Guler's son Baris Guler were among 24 people arrested in the sweep, which Recep Tayyip Erdogan,  Turkey's prime minister, called a "dirty operation"  to smear his administration and undermine the country's progress.

"I have resigned from my post of economy minister to help the truth to come out and to foil this ugly plot, which has impacted my child and my close work colleagues among others," Caglayan said in a statement.

"It is obvious that the operation carried out on Dec 17 is a dirty set-up against our party and our government."

The affair has reignited anti-Erdogan sentiment among many Turks that had simmered since the unprecedented mid-2013 mass protests against his rule. It also drew an EU warning that Ankara needed to safeguard the separation of powers.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan responded by purging police investigators involved.

The Erdogan government casts the scandal as a foreign-orchestrated effort to sow discord in Turkey, which during the premier's three terms has flourished economically though he has been accused of authoritarianism.

Moving to salve the domestic divisions, President Abdullah Gul pledged on Tuesday that there would be no cover-up and that the investigation would be adjudicated in independent courts.


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